Sentencing for road traffic offences—special reasons
Produced in partnership with Matthew Sorel-Cameron of Red Lion Chambers
Sentencing for road traffic offences—special reasons

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Matthew Sorel-Cameron of Red Lion Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sentencing for road traffic offences—special reasons
  • What are special reasons in driving sentencing?
  • When special reasons apply to motoring offences
  • Special reasons and avoiding obligatory disqualification
  • Special reasons and reducing disqualification from driving periods
  • Special reasons and avoiding obligatory license endorsement
  • Practical benefits and risks of arguing special reasons
  • The burden and standard of proof
  • Procedure for special reasons hearing
  • Examples of special reasons

What are special reasons in driving sentencing?

Special reasons are a category of mitigating arguments that can:

  1. prevent a defendant from being disqualified from driving or reduce the length of a driving disqualification or

  2. prevent a defendant from receiving a penalty points endorsement

Special reasons arguments are advanced following a conviction or guilty plea for driving offences.

Although the expression ‘special reasons’ is used at, and derives its force from section 34(1) (disqualification) and section 44(2) (endorsement) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988) the expression ‘special reasons’ has no statutory definition.

Case law can however assist. A special reason is a mitigating or extenuating circumstance, not amounting in law to a defence to the charge, but is directly connected with the commission of the offence and one, which the court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing sentence. A circumstance particular to the offender, as distinguished from the offence, is not a special reason.

The fact that a defendant charged under section 7(6) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) (failing to provide a specimen) was not driving at the material time, is capable in law of amounting to a special reason.

When special reasons apply to motoring offences

When special reasons are found the RTOA 1988 gives the court a discretion as to

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